Toaru Majutsu no Index:Volume21 Chapter8
Chapter 8: Their Many-Sided Counterattack. Combination.
The shape of the angel’s body was not unusual. It looked just like the body of a 20-something year old woman. Unmistakably this was Gabriel, the only angel in Christian lore said to have female attributes.
But when you looked closer, you could see that she was not human.
The entire surface of her body was covered by slippery cloth of an unknown material, her face had no eyes or nostrils, only shapes that superficially resembled such parts created from the ridges and depressions across the surface of the cloth. The cloth spread out around the back of her head in a way as to resemble hair.
There was no noticeable difference between the “skin” and the “clothing”, the two seemingly blended into one. Scattered across the white surface of the cloth were shapes formed by what seemed to be gold leaf, and golden safety pins.
The overall color of her attire was more grey than white, but a bluish glow radiated outwards from her entire body, not unlike the glow of a computer screen.
Wings of ice.
About a hundred of them. The sizes ranged from a few dozen meters to well over one hundred meters in length. They resembled nothing less than countless gigantic swords of ice piercing through the sky. The beauty of the crystalline wings was similar to the beauty precious gems like diamonds held for humans.
Throughout the frozen landscape of Russia, all the Academy City troops who beheld the sight of the archangel were not mesmerized by its beauty. For they knew the horror of that shape. No, rather, they had been forced to learn firsthand the horror that was the Power of God.
Flapping those countless wings of ice, Misha flew down at the snowy landscape. The angel’s movements were simple and direct: fly straight down towards the closely packed armor divisions of Academy City, and as she crashes into the ground like a meteor, pound the ground around her with hundreds of wings of ice. With this crude but efficient method of attack that resembled nothing more than a giant stamp descending on the land, Misha crushed the Academy City troops, who had effortlessly defeated the mighty Russian army, like a bunch of ants.
“RETREAT! WE’RE TOO CLOSE!!!”
“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS THING?!!”
The surviving tanks retreated furiously, turned their turrets to aim at the angel, and fired. The sound of the cannon fire felt as though it would shake up one’s inner organs into a mess, and multiple armor piercing explosive rounds rent the air as they flew towards their target.
Misha didn’t even bother to turn.
The wings that were like towers of steel flapped once, faster than the speed of sound. With this one supersonic flap, the air was compressed into a wall of wind that knocked the tank rounds away as if they were nothing. Misha did not continue the attack, for she did not adhere to battle tactics concerning victory or defeat.
Whoosh! Before the deflected tank rounds exploded, Misha was already 1000 meters above the ground again. With the current situation the troops were in, they would not survive another assault. The surviving troops were scattered around the perimeter of the giant crater that formed from Misha’s first attack. Misha chose her target. And just like before, Misha dived towards the ground at horrifying speeds.
Just like that, Misha continued to literally stamp the Academy City troops out of existence. Misha had no concept of “friend” or “foe” and as such, even the Russian tanks and troops milling around on the surface were crushed into oblivion.
It was a scene of total destruction. A crewman emerged from the crushed hull of an Academy City tank, only to come face to face with a Russian soldier who was almost fainting from exhaustion. However neither pointed their gun at each other. The Russian soldier just stared up at the sky, dazed, and the Academy City trooper completely understood what was going through the Russian soldier’s mind.
This was not a war anymore. The term “war” was just one of the many aspects of human life. This was a true apocalypse. In front of an apocalyptic event such as this, humans were powerless.
This was what the angel was speaking. The human ear could not hear it, nor could their minds understand it. The sound was just like if one’s throat had been pierced with a knife. As the troops looked skywards, the angel of destruction would come crashing down. Misha’s movements did not change, not even her attack patterns. It seemed as though, to the angel, all this was just a boring chore to be done as fast as possible. The soldiers staring up at the angel knew that when Misha’s face turned towards them, death would come to them in an instant as she crashed down on top of them like a falling star. We’re next. They would think. To survive up till now was already a miracle. Our luck must have been used up already.
The tank crewman sat resignedly on the ground, and gave a faint smile of defeat. The expression of the Russian soldier was identical. The next instant the angel came crashing down. Mercilessly. Its goal, to kill all life on the frozen tundra.
BOOM! The sound of the explosion echoed across the land. However, this sound was not caused by Misha impacting against the ground, but was caused by a person colliding with the archangel.
The Russian and the Academy City crewman could not understand what was happening. They hadn’t even registered the fact that they were still alive. The one fighting the archangel was a….. girl?
A blonde girl clothed in a fiery red dress, wielding a shining sword of light in her right hand. 3000 meters above in the sky, far beyond the habitat of humans, this girl flew around like a rocket, fighting the archangel. For the first time, Misha changed her course. She headed for the ground, slowing down. This time, there was no gigantic explosion and no crater formed. Misha bounced once, twice, three times on the ground, before stopping herself by thrusting her countless wings into the ground around her. Around her, the remnants of the two armies struggled frantically to run away.
What was this?
Even though the Academy City troops were moving again, before Misha could have time to ponder these questions, the woman in red who had assaulted Misha in the sky landed close to where the tanks were.
She did not have a parachute. Rather, she just floated down towards the ground, as if on invisible wings.
The tank crewman sat on his buttocks, shivering in fear as the woman in red landed behind him. However she paid him no heed. Focusing only on the archangel, she casually swung around her sword of light. Focusing only on that horrible figure whom the soldier didn’t want to look at for even one second.
“Sigh, even though they said the Power of God was summoned, this being is no different from your run of the mill monster… I wanted to meet a real angel and ask them about some of heaven’s secrets, but it looks like this…. thing won’t be able to understand even simple language…”
The woman said disdainfully. And then…
“You’re supposed to be a princess, is it that hard to remember some manners?....now that I think back on it, I got tricked by you into coming to this wasteland, so I really don’t have to take responsibility for whatever antics you pull.”
“Wh-when did they come and where did they come from?”
After hearing this second voice, the tank crewman turned his head, and saw a pale faced woman dressed in white. And she was not alone.
“Now that I think about it, for the conflict to erupt now just signifies how serious the situation has become. As expected, the enemy has prepared a trump card on the same level as, no, superior to Curtana…”
This time it was a man’s voice, a very tall man dressed in a Western suit standing in front of several thousand people. It was hard to believe that they were there, for the surroundings had nowhere near enough cover to have hidden all those people…
For the man in the suit, now should not be the ideal time to be listening to the back and forth insults of the woman in red and the pale-faced girl, but still, he traded opinions with them.
“Is your Spell of Thororm ineffective against it?”
“The bad news is, it seems the gap between us is too big. And those ice wings may not even be weapons, but just an extension of its body.”
“What is Necessarius doing? Why don’t they send over that Saint?”
“For her, aiding the wounded for both the Academy City and the Russian troops would be her highest priority. For her, fighting is just another method of saving people, and in this situation, ‘finding another way to stop this war’ would be more important.”
Hearing Knight Leader’s words, Carissa bit her lip. The Holy Woman of Versailles raised her eyebrows.
“For the Anglicans, this would be normal, wouldn’t it?”
Ignoring the glare of the Second Princess Carissa, the Holy Woman of Versailles continued.
“Up till now the Anglicans have killed too many people…”
“I know that even without you telling me…” Carissa snapped back.
“Hmph, in the end we’ll just have to think of a way to bring this thing down.”
Vroom! Once again, the sword of light slashed the air. Facing the pale-faced girl carrying that over-ornamented sword, Carissa spoke.
“Come on, you Frenchie, let’s go.”
“Hmph, ever since I channelled all of France’s power into Durendal, I’ve been dying to use it on that thing.”
An unearthly noise echoed across the land, as Misha started to pull her wings of ice out of the ground. Carissa pointed her sword of light at the angel, and spoke in a commanding voice.
“Come, you beast. I’ll show you that I too, wield the power of an archangel!!”
The second princess of England, Carissa.
The holy maiden of France, the Holy Woman of Versailles.
Their battle plan was simple. Charge at Misha Kreutzev and initiate a full on frontal attack.
The sound of the explosion was slower than the movement of the two on the battlefield. In reality the sound wasn’t an explosion at all, but a supersonic boom caused by the two women’s charge. The two of them swept towards Misha Kreutzev in a pincer attack formation. Like a giant pair of scissors, they aimed for her head.
All eyes were on the two as they rushed at the archangel, burying their swords into the mass of frozen wings. In an instant, Misha came impossibly close to the verge of death, as the two’s blades cleaved through her countless wings like lawn-mowers cutting through grass.
Then, Misha’s hands moved outwards.
Like the movement of subway doors closing, she curled her fingers into fists.
A very simple movement.
A moment earlier Curtana and Durendal had been cutting through the frozen wings of death, and now they could not even scratch the palm of the archangel’s hands. The two blades had been stopped completely. Misha slowly turned, and her eyeless sockets seemed to stare at Carissa.
Another explosion, this time from Carissa and the Holy Woman of Versailles releasing explosive energy from their swords to escape from Misha’s grasp. Although they did not fall over, they skidded back a large distance from the force of their explosions, their hands still numb from it.
Her head moving slightly, Misha garbled in her indecipherable speech. She turned towards Carissa.
Misha raised her palm.
Something flew past Carissa’s face, and the mountain behind her was vaporized. She could not react at all. Misha realized this, and readjusted her aim, moving her palm a little bit.
“GET OUT OF THE WAY YOU BARBARIAN!”
The instant before the shot was fired, the Holy Woman of Versailles moved at supersonic speeds. Circling around from the back of Misha, she kicked out at Carissa from the sides, knocking her away to safety. For most people such a humiliating treatment would have had the two engage in fierce battle, but for those two, this would be considered an act of kindness.
The two girls got out of the way just as Misha fired that “thing” from her hand.
Snow and dirt flew everywhere, but the two were unharmed.
“What is that? I can’t see it at all…”
“The Power of God is a messenger angel. She must be good at manipulating information. She must be obscuring our sixth senses of premonition and intuition. It seems like we can only rely on our 5 normal senses for this fight…”
“That’s no good, it seems like she’s got a loose tongue now.”
“It’s your fault for allowing her to become so cocky you barbarian.”
The wings of ice on Misha’s back began to expand. The two girls were filled with a sense of foreboding. It seemed to be similar to the attack Misha fired from her palms, the purpose of the wings most likely was to disrupt one’s sixth sense.
The two were at a disadvantage.
If they were to launch an attack without the capability to read the movements of the enemy, they would be cut down for sure. But at the same time, they were unable to react to the enemy’s attacks and were completely defenseless. Just as the two prepared themselves for the inevitable, the wings of ice moved. Over one hundred wings moved in unison towards the pair at over supersonic speeds.
Innumerable sparks flew. The situation was just like being fired at by a Gatling gun shooting at 6000 rounds per minute. The girls’ faces were pale as they dodged the countless projectiles. Even though their physical capabilities were far beyond normal humans, without their sixth sense, the chances of dodging such a barrage for an extended period of time were nil.
Even if a chance was to appear for them to launch a counterattack, they did not have the energy left to mount an assault. Dodging Misha’s attack was eating through their stamina. This was a completely unfavorable situation for them; they could not find an opening at all.
“What are you doing you barbarian?! Didn’t you say Curtana had the power of an archangel just like the enemy?”
“That's just on paper! It’s not a problem of ‘power’ but a problem of ‘technique’ and ‘knowledge’. If you haven’t noticed, I’m not an archangel! I can't compete with a real archangel! What about your Durendal?”
“Just relying on the power of the ‘artifact’ is not enough! Remember, our goal is the impossible dream of taking down an archangel!”
The sound of something scraping together. That depression in Misha’s face where her mouth should be moved ever so slightly.
“This bastard! She still has energy left-!!”
Carissa wore an expression of shock, as Misha’s movements far exceeded her calculations. Over a hundred wings of ice, directed not at her and the Holy Woman, but rather, at the surviving Russian and Academy City soldiers.
As fast as she could, the second princess of England moved at supersonic speeds, putting herself between the archangel and the surviving troops. To save the lives of innocent people from the wrath of an archangel, she put her life on the line. Misha Kreutzev struck without mercy, for this was the moment she had been waiting for. The entire landscape shuddered with the impact.
Carissa clenched her teeth, blood coming out from her mouth. She could hear the sound of bones breaking. Even though she used Curtana Second to take the brunt of the attack, the force of the wings pressing her into the ground made her fear for her life. She thought that she would be squished to death, intestines spilling out all over the place. However the scariest part wasn’t that. In the bleeding palm of Carissa’s hand, the shard of Curtana Second had shattered under the immense pressure.
Misha coldly spoke. Once again, hundreds of frozen wings crashed down. This time, Carissa did not have the sword of light in her hands. Even the shard of Curtana Second from which the blade was formed had gone.
This time, even the sound vanished.
Everyone watched speechless. The Holy Woman of Versailles and her French forces, the English forces led by Knight Leader, plus the Russians and Academy City troops for whom magic was not even a confirmed existence yet. All stopped their motions. However, this reaction was not towards the destructive power of Misha Kreutzev.
“….yes, my sword is created by using the power of the Curtana Second shard to borrow the power of England’s warriors. If the shard is broken, this power vanishes.”
The voice of the girl in red echoed across the land. The voice of the second princess of England, who governed all ‘military affairs’.
“However, who said one was only limited to possessing one shard of Curtana Second?!”
The blade of light reignited. Or more correctly, blades of light, for Carissa was wielding dual swords of light now. Around her waist, ten more shards were tied in a belt.
“As a princess who gambled the fate of her own country in this war, I shall not go down so easily!”
With a high pitched noise, Misha repositioned all of her ice wings at once.
Carissa smiled coldly. Even though she was horribly injured, her legs shaking, her smile would not go away. Next to her, the Holy Woman called out.
“How long do you think we have to hold out for?”
Behind them, the soldiers were in retreat. No matter if they were Russian or from Academy City, with the aid of the British and French troops, they quickly made their escape from the battlefield. Survivors were rescued from crushed vehicles, and the injured were placed on those that could still move.
“We have to hold until they reach someplace safe. If even the other side of the earth is not safe, then we hold until then.”
“You’re remarkably calm.”
“Heh, I don’t know about that.”
Once again, the two women engaged the archangel in combat. Both Carissa and the Holy Woman were not without injuries. Faced against the supersonic wings of the angel, and stripped of their sixth sense, even as they dodged fatal blows, their bodies steadily collected minor wounds. They were injured more by shards of broken ice than by the direct blow of one of the massive wings.
As it was, it was impossible for them to have come out unharmed. The two of them had already used up most of their energy and their movements were visibly slower. If the battle dragged on, they were sure to receive a fatal blow in the end. However, even if they wanted to commit suicide, the girls did not venture directly in front of Misha. Instead, they pulled back a small distance away for a breather.
From between her breasts, Carissa took out a small communications device.
“I still value my life, so I think it is time for Plan B.”
“….Could you not hide stuff in that sort of place? As another member of the same sex I think you have very serious problems.”
Ignoring her, Carissa spoke into the device.
“All missile squads are to be on standby, ready to launch the surface-to-air missiles.”
Behind a hill some 5 kilometers away, various trucks with missile launchers and radar arrays mounted on them were congregated. The most important were the trucks with mounts containing 20 cylindrical missile launchers. The attack was not a scenery-destroying launch of one or two missiles. Each missile truck fired their payload of 20 missiles. Their jet trails leaving white streaks in the air, over one hundred missiles soared into the sky.
At first, Misha did not even turn her head to observe the launch. Most likely she did not regard them as a threat. But very soon she realized the circumstances. These missiles were SAMs, surface-to-air missiles. That is, they were not targeted at Misha who was on the ground, but rather, the giant aerial target that was the Star of Bethlehem.
“Although I don’t know if you understand our language, let me say a word.”
Carissa flourished her sword, a wicked smile on her face.
“Are you sure you should be lazing around here? Defending that place, shouldn’t that be your highest priority?”
“Aw, don’t be mad.”
Faced with the killing intent radiating from the angel, Carissa spoke casually.
“After all, wasn’t this the tactic you used just before?”
The sound of an explosion. The archangel had aimed a small explosion at the ground. Carissa and the Holy Woman of Versailles instantly were on guard, leaping back to put distance between themselves and Misha. There was not enough time for them to get back in formation. Misha Kreutzev looked up at the sky, and with one flap flew up into the air. Like a rocket she flew towards the Star of Bethlehem to intercept the SAMs. The Holy Woman of Versailles lowered Durendal, looking at the scene.
“I don’t think that level of bombardment will be able to down the flying fortress.”
“Even if it only knocks it off course, that is enough. Angels are angels, they have to follow their orders. They judge and move according to their orders. It is easy to guess that the angel’s highest priority is to guard that flying fortress vital to her master’s plan.”
As Carissa spoke, she wavered unsteadily on her feet.
“Hmph, it seems the price I paid was higher than I expected”
Because of her fight with such an unnatural being such as an archangel, and the strain of having to maintain the power output of Curtana Second, her body was at its limits. However, she could not retreat here. War was not such a simple thing, and the second princess of England in charge of ‘military affairs’ knew this well.
“SAMs are also a resource of the country, we don’t have an unlimited supply of them. We can’t expect to occupy her forever. Take the chance now to retreat the injured.”
After ordering her subordinates with the communications device, Carissa fell into deep thought.
“That damn monster…”
She coughed up the blood that was starting to coagulate in her throat. The sword of light that the second princess of England held was a national treasure that held immense power. However, it was still a man-made item holding man-made power. Compared with the power of a true archangel it was nothing.
“How will we deal with that thing… I see no way how it can be defeated by mere humans…”
Tremors could be felt throughout the entirety of the floating fortress Star of Bethlehem.
Kamijou Touma, who was currently on the Star of Bethlehem, dared not imagine what was happening on the ground to cause such powerful tremors that could be felt even here.
"...it's still rising huh.."
Kamijou said, looking out the windows as he ran through the stone corridors. It was hard to grasp how high they were by looking at the empty sky, but by looking at the clouds and the distance they were from the Star of Bethlehem Touma saw that it was continuing to ascend into the night sky.
"My first response: The original Star of Bethlehem was a celestial body witnessed by a prophet. By observing it, the prophet predicted that the Son of God shall be born under its light."
"So this is an artificial star? Somehow this gives me a bad feeling. Let's just hope this thing doesn't fly into outer space, nor turn into a giant asteroid and usher in a new Ice Age..."
In front of him, the corridors groaned as they constantly shifted shape and form. However the changes did not have a feeling of random suddenness like an explosion. It was more of the feeling of a star settling and cooling down after birth.
The total size of the structure was approximately 40 kilometers across. Touma guessed that they were towards the rear of the structure. The "ceremonial altar" that Sasha mentioned was at the very end of the right wing of the fortress. Since Fiamma's objective was there, he must be somewhere there in person. To stop the Archangel Misha Kreutzev, they had to head towards the "ceremonial altar", but the distance was too big for a high school boy to easily get across.
".... Sasha must have run here to me all the way from that altar....."
Putting aside the possibility of Sasha having a superhuman movement speed, there must be some sort of high-speed transportation mechanism inside the Star of Bethlehem.
"My second response: From a human perspective, to have to go all the way back there after I purposely escaped from that place, I don't like the idea...."
"Then... Sasha, you could just stay here and wait."
"My third response: If it was possible this wouldn't be so hard..."
"You've got a point.... we have no way of getting out of here without a parachute. If I beat up Fiamma before I address this problem......"
Touma said, as he walked with Sasha towards the center of the fortress.
"This fortress is several tens of kilometers across, plus it is the enemy's territory. We'll just be wasting our strength if we aimlessly run around."
"My fourth response: I don't think I have enough stamina for that. As for transport, there's some here."
Finally, they found a transport train. Touma was not sure if it was really for transporting objects, as there was only one carriage. Even though it was a train, it seemed more like a car on rails. Obviously it was not a magical object.
Sasha got on and looked back at Touma.
"My first question: Are you not getting on?"
"No, I'm coming on..... Why would there be a train in this sort of place....?"
"My fifth response: I have difficulty answering that as well...."
Thinking back, in Fiamma's base, it looked as though work had been done on it, there were support shafts and the like everywhere. It probably was built with combination in mind.
".... Lessar said before, there are around 200 magicians in the Russian Orthodox Church... to guarantee the effective operation of the facilities, they had to preserve the existing jobs"
Touma got on the train. Although Sasha and Touma both had no idea how to operate the train, after they inputted their desired destination, the machine automatically went to work. It was just like operating an elevator.
The rail car lurched violently and began to move. Soon the roof above Touma and Sasha's heads disappeared and they were given a vista of the sky.
The sky was pitch black, an empty void without a single star.
"The Star of Bethlehem...."
Sasha whispered, staring up at the eerie scene.
"My first personal opinion: The star that heralded the coming of the Son of God. Fiamma of the Right is exposing it through artificial means, huh."
Even though the cloud cover below them was very thick, there were gaps everywhere, through which tiny pinpricks of light could be seen. Those were not nightlights, and Touma guessed they were gunfire or perhaps fires. He had seen a similar scene once on the television. A satellite was sending images of fires in the Amazon forest. Touma ground his teeth in anger.
Suddenly, one of the red glows near the surface started getting closer, and Touma could see vapor trails behind it. As the object got closer Touma could see it was a cylindrical shape.
There wasn't just one or two. 50, no, 100 missiles flew through the air at them. It must have been a counterattack. A few of the missiles streaked towards Touma and Sasha. At this rate they would be receiving a direct hit. Even if the missile missed them, the track the car was running on would almost certainly be destroyed, perhaps even the rock underneath them, and Touma and Sasha would fall to their deaths. Even if they wanted to take evasive maneuvers now, it was impossible. Inside the narrow confines of the car carriage, there was nowhere to run.
The windows of the carriage shattered, and a violent wind swept throughout the carriage. Even with his hands over his ears Touma felt stabbing pain in his eardrums. Then he noticed. This was not the effects of being hit by a missile. If they had been hit, the carriage would have been a smoldering wreck now, and there would have been no way for Touma and Sasha to survive.
Something had stopped the missiles.
Touma saw the culprit.
Inside the carriage, with temperatures dropping below freezing point, Touma stopped breathing. Their savior was none other than the archangel, Misha Kreutzev. The monster with giant wings of ice flew along the carriage at the same speed. Touma did not care anymore about those exploding missiles in the distance. Extreme fear had gripped his mind. The archangel continuously flapped its wings, intercepting the innumerable amount of state of the art missiles.
Inspecting her from close range, she was a remarkable creature indeed.
When looking at her from afar, Touma only thought of her as A winged being with the outline of a human. From close range, she resembled and yet did not resemble Sasha at the same time. Touma estimated her to be about two meters tall. Going by Kanzaki's description, Power of God resembled a female angel. However, her expressionless face reminded Touma of an unfinished mannequin. That featureless face of hers with only depressions and rises in the cloth covering her entire body gave Touma an unnerving feeling just by looking at it. It wasn't to say that it didn't look feminine. Certainly it was more feminine than masculine.
It was hard to tell the skin and clothing apart. A smooth white fabric wrapped around the contours of her body. Everywhere across the cloth were fastened golden safety pins. The entire body was composed entirely only of two colors, white and gold. However because of the silvery white glow emitted from the angel's body, overall she looked more silverish in color.
Her hair was composed purely of the white fabric fanning out behind her head. There were lotus motifs on the top, and Touma guessed it had some religious significance. Bobbing above her head was a small halo composed of water. Touma did not know how or why, but it seemed the halo rotated faster or slower in accordance with the angel's behavior. Touma wondered what Sasha, a devout Christian, felt as she looked at the angel. Touma and the angel's "eyes" met. Her face was only a collection of indents, and there was nothing you could really call "eyeballs". However Touma felt a cold, uneasy feeling down his back as he stared at the depressions where her eyes should be.
Misha Kreutzev tilted her head slightly. Suddenly, the wings behind her back tensed, and Touma could tell that she was going to attack the train any time now.
"....this is bad....!?"
Fiamma had said that Touma's right hand and Misha's body were both vital to his plans. However, Misha Kreutzev may not know. She focused her gaze on Touma's right hand. The right hand that could banish any supernatural power.
To her, you could say that she was attracted to it because it was her greatest enemy.
Misha Kreutzev raised her wings.
An earsplitting sound of stone on stone. Or that was what Touma, who's heart was still in his throat, had thought. However that was not the case.
The noise was not that of Misha Kreutzev attacking Kamijou Touma. You could say it was the opposite. The noise was that of someone coming in from the side at horrific speeds, kicking Misha Kreutzev out of the way.
"M-my second question: What just happened?"
Sasha stuttered in fear and confusion. It was impossible for there to be an existence which could attack and harm an archangel. However, just as preposterous was that they were 5000 meters up in the air. It was impossible for most magicians to reach this high in the air.
However Kamijou Touma knew of one existence which could do both these things. Capable of defeating even Saints, and the only one capable of countering the magic of Misha Kreutzev. An existence created by science.
Created by the concentration of AIM diffusion fields. Emitting violet lightning, tens of wings emitting from her back.
Touma yelled into the ferocious winds whipping the air around the carriage.
"....that person, why is she here...?!"
Touma did not think she could hear. However, for an instant, her eyes looked at Touma, and Touma could see a faint expression on her face. Then she was dashing off towards Misha with a battle spirit that Touma had never seen before.
On the 30th of September, when Kazakiri became an angel for the first time, she had been controlled by someone else. However in the moment their eyes met just then, Touma felt something was different about her. Even though her hair was shining gold, a halo was around her head and purple wings of lightning sprouted from her back, Touma saw that she was "human".
She was unquestionably the Kazakiri Hyouka that Touma knew. To stop Misha's advances, the teenage girl placed herself between the archangel and the carriage. Ahead of them, Touma could see the next entrance into the interior of the Star of Bethlehem. But just as they were about to reenter the fortress. Touma could see that Misha had recovered from the blow, and was preparing to counterattack.
Kazakiri responded, and one of her feathers transformed into a bizarre sword of light. Touma did not know what happened next, for they were plunged into darkness as the carriage entered the tunnel. However the next instant a massive shockwave rent the air, and the carriage, along with its passengers, were blown into the air.
Even though he rushed to the back of the carriage, Touma still couldn't see what was going on outside.
"...What is going on?!....."
Huge explosions and pressure waves rocked them thrice more. It seemed they hadn't finished fighting yet. Touma did not know why that soft-spoken girl, formed by the concentration of AIM diffusion fields in Academy City, was there, or how she knew how to fight. There was just one thing to do. Not just for Index, but to protect her friends as well, Kamijou Touma had to bring down Misha Kreutzev as fast as possible.
For her, with those supernatural wings erupting from her back, this was actually her first time in the air. At first she doubted her wings could even allow her to fly. However it was not a problem now. She did not need to “learn” how to use her powers. It was as if those wings of hers, emitting purple lightning, gained the power of levitation just by her wishing it.
Protect my “friends”.
The Kazakiri who had come there with this intention, did not find “that girl”. However she found another “existence” similar to hers. An “existence” currently trying to kill Kazakiri’s former savior. 5000 meters up in the air, Kazakiri glared at her enemy. That being similar to her.
The being at once so different to humans, yet resembled a member of the female gender. The being from which countless wings of ice sprouted, and a halo around her head. A being filled with unimaginable power, one which could easily wipe out humankind. Faced with her foe, Kazakiri thought these thoughts. Then another thought popped into her head.
Just like an angel.
Whether this thought was aimed at her opponent or at herself, Kazakiri did not know either. Perhaps all that could be used to describe the “existence” could be used to describe herself, and vice versa. Kazakiri slowly realized this. What was the opponent thinking? Had it thought of something? Had she found something deep within herself? The two creatures in the air finally began to move once again. In her hand, Kazakiri held a sword which contained the same power in it as her wings. Facing her, the unarmed angel raised its right hand, and grasped a blade of ice from midair. No signal was required. They moved in unison and met in a mighty collision.BOOM!!!
An omni-directional blast wave expanded from the colliding angels. The air was almost like a solid wall, spreading out great distances. Even the gigantic floating fortress shook with the impact. A large number of its buildings were flattened, but the debris did not fall to earth. Rather, it floated in the air as if it was weightless, before being sucked back towards the superstructure of the fortress.
No time to pay heed to such minor details however.
The battle continued. As their swords clashed, the two monsters’ wings flew towards each other, seemingly alive, and crashed together. At supersonic speeds, countless blades attacked both combatants from all sorts of angles. However, victory was not determined in that instant, for both of the monsters were attacking in similar fashion. Wings of ice shattered into millions of pieces, and wings of purple lightning blew apart into particles as they traded blows. The remnants of these broken wings dispersed rapidly from the pair, filling the air with shining particles of ice and lightning. The effect was rather like the shower of feathers left after a flock of birds take flight.
While striking out with countless wings, the Archangel of Water raised her blade of ice, lashing out at Kazakiri’s head. Kazakiri parried the blow and prepared for a new assault. The face of her foe was expressionless. Like a puppet, its eyes, nose and mouth were not discernible from the rest of the face save for shallow depressions and bumps. It was almost as if the enemy was wearing a mask. The depression that Kazakiri guessed was a mouth twitched, and Kazakiri could hear a voice. It was not a voice speaking in any human language, and probably was inaudible to humans as a whole. She couldn’t understand every word, but Kazakiri could get a general idea of what the opponent was saying.
The voice carried a tone of emotion. If she could feel the emotion, then she could somewhat decipher the otherworldly language.
“Revert. frPlace. Correct. Alignment. ujj. Heaven. Original. Position.”
It was a bit garbled. The outline of the body of the angel of ice shuddered slightly. Because she too did not have a body of flesh and blood, Kazakiri was able to see the composition of the shell of the other angel.
“…Opposing powers…forcibly put in one container?”
Kazakiri could see fire. Fire that was as incompatible with water as oil. Two different powers were contained inside the angel. At this rate, the angel which could be considered somewhat beautiful, would not be able to maintain her physical form. A container could not contain two powers at once. At first glance it would seem that Kazakiri, who was formed from the AIM diffusion fields of various espers with different powers, was being hypocritical. However when it came down to it, the AIM diffusion fields that maintain Kazakiri’s existence were much more similar in comparison to the two contained in the angel of ice. The speaking angel emitted an aura of anger.
“Return. Must. Plan. Go. Right. Use. Advantage. Contact. Plan. Help.”
“….. Even if it's for this that you are willing to harm my friends, I will stop you with all my power!”
“Harm. Ignore. Priority. Return. Correct. Position. Must. Obstruct. Evil. Intention. Judge. All.”
A massive surge of power radiated from the angel of ice. With even greater force, the blade of ice swung down once again, colliding with the sword of Kazakiri, and both angels were forced back from the impact. Misha waved the sword over her head. At this time. Misha suddenly turned her head from Kazakiri, her attention elsewhere.
She spoke. The archangel who was oblivious to all but her goals spoke.
“Necessary. Report. Lamb-skin. Found.”
Holding Last Order in his arms, Accelerator sat down in the truck parked in the snow. He rode shotgun, as Misaka Worst jumped into the driver seat.
“Sneaking around would just be a waste of time. If we want to get this over with as fast as possible, we should head straight for the middle of the fighting.”
“I understand~” Misaka Worst said, inserting the car key that she had obtained from Elizalina. It seemed the car was an automatic, as Misaka Worst was easily able to control it with one hand. In the unnatural pitch black of the night, the headlights of the car sliced a path of light through the shroud of darkness. In no time they had already left the little town behind, and were on the open tundra.
“It should take us roughly… 5 minutes before we cross the border…. Now that I think about it, for us to charge recklessly into the battlefront which was even visible from back there…even with science on our side there is a limit to how much we can do.”
Hanging in the middle of the night sky was the giant fortress. It was just far too big. Like a cloud, it covered the whole sky, stretching from one corner of the sky to the other. Even more spectacular, at the back of the flying fortress, a supernatural glow was emitting from the battle between the two angels. As their wings clashed, the shockwaves spread throughout the sky, and could be felt even from this distance. The residue from their battle painted the black sky with unnatural colors of blue and purple.
As if he was going down into an ocean trench, Accelerator felt a tremendous pressure on his chest. There was definitely something wrong with the color of the night sky. As his chest was weighed down by this pressure, Accelerator turned towards Misaka Worst.
“Hey… you sure you really don’t know what the heck that thing is? As it is formed from the Misaka Network, you should be able to glean some information about it…”
“Which angel are you talking about? The one with wings of ice? Or the one with wings of lightning?”
“…. Either one is fine, even if its information from Academy City, I doubt the information is restricted to only the confines of science…”
….. If he put it that way, it seemed Last Order was heavily involved with those beings flying in the air. Accelerator would not rest until he had saved Last Order. It seemed that the reason for Last Order’s current deteriorating health was due to the angels’ existence. In which case, to save Last Order, Accelerator just had to go up to the fortress and destroy the angels.
Aiwass’s power was overwhelming. Even in “Dark Wing” mode, at his current level, Accelerator was not able to even make a move before he was crushed. Even though he was called a “villain” he could not even save one little girl.
Then… what could he do? How would he shelter her, and protect her smile from this cruel, barbaric world? The lamb-skin parchment tucked away in his coat was emitting a hateful aura. The arcane symbols scrawled upon it, were they of the same caliber as the “Angel” created on the 30th of September, or was it even more potent? If Accelerator could not analyze the situation, then he would just have to ignore safety procedures prior to combat and charge in with no knowledge of the enemy’s abilities.
This would be a huge gamble.
In the past, such a move that would have threatened Last Order’s life would be a definite no-go for Accelerator. But now, this route was the only way to save Last Order’s life. It was like walking in pitch blackness on a narrow path, where both sides of the pathway led only to bottomless pits, with no idea where you were going.
At this time.
The two monsters battling in the air suddenly sped downwards towards the ground in a spiral of death. If a religious man had seen this scene, it would have undoubtedly been worthy of becoming a legend to be told for countless generations to come. However, Accelerator was not moved to tears by such a scene. For however he looked at them, it seemed the two angels were catapulting straight for the car he was in. To be more precise, one of the angels was flying at him, and the other was in hot pursuit.
“…could it be, they are attracted to this parchment?”
As this realization dawned on him, a malicious grin broke across Accelerator’s face. It seemed that the Russian Orthodox Church, which had started all this ruckus, needed the lamb-skin procedure to complete whatever infernal plans they had. That was what Elizalina had said. Misaka Worst, who was clenching on to the steering wheel, was not as calm.
“Hey! What should we do, what should we do? This situation is worse than running into a Category 5 hurricane!”
“The difference between a natural disaster and a man-made disaster is simple.”
Accelerator rolled down the window, ignoring the freezing winds which could cut like knives.
“Who cares if there are enemies to be slain. We are very lucky that the targets are right in front of us. Saves us the trouble of going to them.”
As he spoke, Accelerator leaned his upper body out the window
“I’ll leave Last Order to you. Try to avoid being killed before I finish this.”
“My, my, this is really troublesome, to be entrusted with a task by others.. Misaka hates this type of situation the most.”
“People who are worthy to be used like this are lucky. They get to crack boring jokes, and have a chance of not being killed.”
“Hmph, Misaka does indeed like that part.”
There was no time left to waste on idle gossip. The two monsters were almost upon them. Accelerator switched on the electrode in his neck. Controlling the vectors of the wind, Accelerator formed four tornados from his back, like wings, and leapt out the window. He didn’t touch the ground. Rather, he rocketed up into the air towards the two battling monsters. A third monster had entered the fray.
Darkness spread out ignoring the time of day as it were a solar eclipse. And on top of that, a great number of unnatural points of light glittered in the sky ignoring the constellations as if it were a poorly made planetarium. However, very few people were glad to see that scene that could be described as ominous or mystical. Even then, various explosions and vibrations resounded.
Amid all that, Glickin walked through a snowy forest.
He was the Russian soldier who had operated the anti-aircraft gun along with Hamazura and Digurv in order to protect the village from the privateer attack.
As Academy City forces had occupied the area, the danger of more attacks from the Russians had lessened. They had constructed temporary buildings so the villagers were not going to freeze to death in the blizzard because their mostly wooden houses had been destroyed.
But Glickin could not partake in that blessing.
He was a former member of the Russian army and the air force base he had been stationed at had been attacked by Academy City. The equipment and methods used in that attack had been completely different, so he felt the people sending aid to the villagers and the ruthless killers were different people and units. One side was official and the other side was unofficial. However, he still could not forgive them.
It was not anger that ruled his heart.
It was all rooted in fear.
(There’s no place for me here in Russia now that I’ve fought against the privateers. Maybe it would be best if I headed to the Elizalina Alliance as quickly as I can.)
Despite thinking that, Glickin was not walking through that snowy forest in order to leave the village. Even if he were to head to the Elizalina Alliance, it didn’t feel right to him to do so without saying farewell to the villagers who saved him.
So why was Glickin wandering around in that place?
(How far did that kid go…?)
There was a lost child.
There were children in the village and kids tended to go off to play after extreme tension like that of the privateer attack was over. Having the danger gone may have raised their spirits unnecessarily high. Even the adults were in a mood similar to after a round of drinking.
But then a girl of about 10 had disappeared.
The other children playing with her hadn’t seen where she went. They just said she was suddenly gone.
The unnatural night sky put adults like Glickin on guard (even if they knew being on guard would not do any good). However, the missing girl was still a child. She was still at the age where she believed in Santa Claus. It was possible she wandered off while watching that night sky that she felt had some kind of hope in it.
However, the Russian winter was harsh. There was the cold of course, but she could also easily run into a carnivore that was woken up from its hibernation by the bombings and bombardments. And on top of all that, Glickin had heard that landmines were spread around the area. It was not an environment where a child could safely play.
It seemed the girl’s mother had tried to help in the search, but everyone had stopped her. The child’s life was important, but having the cold or the landmines take two victims would be even worse. As such, Glickin and a few others had looked around the village.
There weren’t very many of them, so Glickin was the only one there.
He had walked about 3 kilometers from the village, but he had still seen no sign of the girl. He started to wonder if a small child could walk that far through snow piled that deep. A child could likely do it if she was dead set on doing so, but if she were just heading out to play, her motivation would normally wane after coming that far and she would head back to the village.
Perhaps he should head back.
Just when Glickin started to think that, he saw a figure moving beyond the blizzard of snow.
But it was large.
He immediately hid behind a tree thinking he had spotted a bear or something. However, that was not what it was. A wild bear would not be wearing a white combat uniform meant to be used in intense cold. From the design, Glickin could tell it was a Russian army uniform, but he had never worn anything that high class.
(…An unofficial special unit!? Is that the unit called Eastern Death!?)
That unit mainly used sniping and explosives to assassinate important people from other countries and start wars between countries that were inconvenient to Russia. During the cold war, there had been an urban legend that merely writing that name on paper was enough for the unit to come assassinate you.
Even in the middle of a war, they were not a group one would run into for no reason. By the time they were wearing those uniforms and walking around, a tragedy was sure to follow.
Why were they there?
And why had they gotten out of their vehicle and begun to walk on foot.
Glickin thought of Digurv and the others’ village that had been targeted in order to create a front line base and the Academy City forces that had set up there.
Glickin had been stationed inside an air force base, so he had no chance of winning in a fight against an elite unit. He could only see one there, but there should be at least a few of them there if they were carrying out some kind of military operation.
He needed to get away from there as quickly as possible and return to the village.
He didn’t like to rely on them, but the Academy City forces could do something about that special unit. They were not a force that used great military power. Instead, they were experts at using a few people in secret to throw the enemy forces into chaos. If their location and the timing of their attack were known, they could be forced back.
Glickin took a step away from the tree he was hiding behind.
But he was not able to take a second step.
The figure on the other side of the blizzard suddenly froze. Glickin knew he was in trouble. He felt a great pressure. It was a gaze. Because there were no other people around, that piercing gaze accurately found Glickin.
Despite the fair distance between them, each of them read the silence of the other.
Immediately afterwards, the man from the special unit put the stock of his assault rifle to his shoulder and mercilessly aimed the barrel toward Glickin.
Glickin forced down the fear squeezing at his heart and turned around. Rifle bullets struck the trunk of the tree he had been hiding behind before and tree bark flew off lightly scraping Glickin’s cheek. He had been lucky to not be directly hit, but he had no time to reflect on that good fortune. Glickin merely ran through the snowy forest.
He did not think he had any way of winning.
He would not be saved just by escaping from the single soldier following him from behind.
(He’s likely contacted someone on his radio.)
Glickin thought as he frantically moved his legs that were about to cramp up in fear.
(I don’t know how many of them there are, but I can’t escape if I’m surrounded!!)
The snow at Glickin’s feet was blown away by rifle bullets. He continued running while almost falling over until he finally tripped up over his own feet and fell on top of the snow. He had no time to stand back up. Even then, the enemy was approaching from behind. The closer that enemy got, the more Glickin’s odds of death shot up. He tried to force his snow-covered body up, but another obstacle was now in his way.
It was not the enemy.
It was the girl who he had gone out to look for.
She must have come that way upon hearing the loud noises in the snowy forest. It was the worst possible turn of events for Glickin. He had almost no chance of getting away on his own and having to take the child with him would drag that down to zero chance.
However, he still couldn’t leave the child behind.
The man from the special unit had fired without checking who he was. He was eliminating all witnesses. It would not matter if that witness were a civilian or a child.
Glickin picked up the child and continued to run, but his feet sank deeper into the snow than he had expected due to the weight of the child. He lost his balance and fell onto the snow once more.
The special unit soldier approached.
From that range, Glickin could clearly see the man’s finger moving on the trigger of the assault rifle.
A gunshot resounded throughout the snowy forest.
Glickin clenched his eyes shut, but he felt no pain. When he cautiously reopened his eyes, he saw the special unit soldier collapsed on the ground. A mass of snow weighing close to 10 kilograms had suddenly fallen down on top of him from a tree branch.
Of course, that had not been some stupid natural phenomenon.
The gunshot had not been from the assault rifle in the soldier’s hand. A third party had fired from somewhere at the tree branch near the soldier. Firing at that large stationary target was much easier than firing at the small moving target of the soldier.
“Are you okay!?” a voice yelled out.
It was speaking in Japanese which was rare in those parts. The gunshots continued. The snow on the ground near the special unit soldier scattered as he tried to get up. The tough soldier could be seen raising his hands to surrender.
“Glickin, tie him up!! That only worked as a surprise attack. I can’t deal with someone like that in a serious firefight!!”
Glickin recognized the voice. He looked over in the direction it was coming from and saw Hamazura Shiage running over from between the trees. He held a handgun in his hand. He seemed irritated that Glickin wasn’t moving and he went over and bound the special unit soldier’s hands with wire himself.
“…Why…?” Glickin muttered in shock, but then he remembered the situation.
He let go of the girl he had been holding.
“No, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, we need to get out of here. That man you just tied up is a member of a Russian special unit. Those gunshots and his lack of response over the radio will bring his comrades here. We need to get out of here before we’re surrounded.”
“I have business with them.”
Glickin frowned and a girl approached from behind Hamazura. Glickin thought he remembered that her name was Takitsubo. She had been very ill before, but now she seemed better.
Hamazura looked over toward Takitsubo and she took the little girl’s hand. Takitsubo then took her away naturally. It was as if Hamazura was about to mention something he didn’t want the girl to hear.
“It’s the Kremlin Report.”
“There is an old abandoned nuclear missile silo near the village. The leaders of the Russian army are thinking that Academy City may be trying to take that facility, so they are going to disseminate a bacteriological weapon in the area. A manual for this type of situation already existed beforehand.”
“…God dammit,” Glickin said in almost a groan.
Normally, he would not have immediately believed something like that, but the unofficial special unit that had tried to kill him was an ominous sign.
“So that special unit has brought in some terrible virus!? We might not be able to make it in time even if we have the people in the village evacuate now!!”
“No. Takitsubo read the report in Russian, but it seems the dissemination of the bacteriological weapon has to be done in stages. The report on the expected damages had data on the wind direction, the temperature, and the humidity. It seems the humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, is very important for it to spread and there’s a good chance it will turn to diamond dust in this cold.”
“But if they regulate the temperature and humidity using a large amount of steam, it will spread almost explosively. That’s why they intend to disseminate particles of highly preservative gel upwind of their target. The gel is made so it does not freeze even in this cold. With the temperature and humidity in the corresponding area regulated at the optimum level, the bacteriological weapon is released. Once it enters someone’s body, the virus is preserved by the infected person’s body temperature and moisture.”
“So if we can stop the dissemination of the preservative gel in the first stage, we might be able to do something about it…”
“The report mentioned a steam dispenser. It’s the device they’re using to send the particles of gel in to the air. I think it’s something like a special humidifier. Anyway, we need to somehow destroy that device before the—you called them a special unit?—before they can carry out that part of the plan.”
It was easy enough to say, but that meant fighting and defeating that special unit. If their enemy was moving in a group, they couldn’t just carry out a surprise attack with just the two of them.
“…What do we do? Should we call in the Academy City forces in the village?”
“We don’t have time. And if they detect any major movements, the special unit may expedite the dissemination schedule. The general location of the steam dispenser can be calculated from the terrain and weather data plus the direction of the wind, but I don’t actually know the precise location. If that unit is already taking action, we might not make it in time even now. And…”
Hamazura trailed off.
Glickin slightly turned his head in response to that silence.
“It’s fine. But we should take action before the remaining soldiers become suspicious. Glickin, can you drive? Take this key. There’s a four wheel drive car hidden 300 meters west of here. Take that girl and head back to the village.”
“But then you’ll…!!”
“Part of that unit might be wandering around, so we can’t just leave that kid here. Having her walk back is dangerous too and taking her to the battlefield is out of the question. You need to escort her. Take that tied up soldier, too.”
Hamazura then pulled out his cell phone.
“Let’s exchange phone numbers. There’s nothing around here, but there’s a signal here due to the relay antennas. I’ll contact you once I find the steam dispenser. At that point, I can still stop the dissemination even if they notice Academy City taking action, so you need to do everything you can to convince the Academy City soldiers to transport everyone in that village. Do the same if I don’t contact you within half an hour. Pay attention to the direction of the wind. It may not be much of a consolation once the bacteriological weapon has been disseminated, but it’s better than moving without taking anything into account. I would rather have everyone flee right away, but it would be pointless if they all fled in the direction of the steam dispenser. Do you understand?”
“Do you understand, Glickin!? If something happens to me and you do nothing, everyone in the village could be infected!!”
“I doubt everyone in the Russian army wants to use this bacteriological weapon! That’s why they sent in a unit that carries out heartless missions for the first dissemination!! If this gets the proper results, the other soldiers will be less reluctant to carry out their missions and this same thing will start happening all across Russia!! We have to keep that from happening. I don’t want the Academy City soldiers, the villagers, or anyone else to be sacrificed. So do you understand, Glickin!?”
“Yes, I understand!! God dammit, I’ll protect those villagers no matter what it takes. So you better not die!!”
Hamazura and Glickin exchanged cell phone numbers and lightly tapped their palms together as if hitting the plastic phones together. They said nothing more. Takitsubo concluded that the discussion was over, so she came back with the little girl. Glickin grabbed the girl’s hand and carried the bound soldier over his shoulder as he headed in the direction of the hidden car.
Hamazura put his cell phone in his pocket and spoke to Takitsubo.
“Hamazura. From the weather and terrain data in the report, the area about 500 meters north of here seems most suspicious,” Takitsubo said smoothly perhaps because she had been in charge of reconnaissance in Item.
It had nothing to do with her power, but she had polished her skills for getting a direction from the available data.
“There is a small mountain of less than 100 meters there. The wind blowing from there heads toward the nuclear silo and the village.”
“It won’t be on the summit. They want to get this over with as quickly as possible, so they’ll have quickly set up the steam dispenser as close to the base of the mountain as they could get away with.”
Hamazura walked over to the place where the soldier had lay collapsed just a bit before and picked up his assault rifle and magazines. It had a completely different weight and overall feel than the handgun. He doubted he could use it properly, but a handgun didn’t feel very reliable.
Hamazura’s movement stopped for an instant at the chill of the murderous weapon.
But he then moved his gaze up as if shaking his eyes free of the weapon, hung the rifle from its shoulder strap, and headed for the northern mountain.
“Hamazura. Let’s finish this quickly. I’ve had enough of this war.”
“Yeah, and I don’t like this eclipse. Why couldn’t it be a nice aurora or something?”
Accelerator was like a blast wave from an explosion, blowing away the snow from the ground, he charged towards the two angels. In the moment before their weapons were about to clash, Accelerator considered which entity he should get rid of first. However he came to the conclusion that since both of them were winged monsters, there was no point in aiding either side, and he leapt between the two, using his Reflection ability to attack the angels by redirecting their own blows at themselves.
BOOM!! The sound of explosions rang throughout the air. Against the doll-like angel of ice, Reflection was largely ineffective. Even though he used Reflection, the wings of ice were like soft candy, as they were bent out of shape, they were sent flying towards the forests, sending up ice and dirt as they went along.
The angle of reflection was too small. If Accelerator continued to forcibly reflect the attacks, his body would be injured too. However, Accelerator’s expression did not change, for the wings of the glasses-wearing angel were fully deflected by his Reflection. The angel had an almost human-like expression of surprise, and in this instant Accelerator took away the vectors from the angel’s attack. Gathering the vectors, Accelerator launched a merciless strike straight at the chest of the glasses-wearing angel.
The sound vanished.
The seemingly weightless flying angel was knocked back 300 meters. Like a crashing airplane, she tumbled towards the ground in an almost comical fashion. The reason Accelerator attacked her first was very simple. His powers worked on this angel, not so much on the other angel. Logically he should try to take out the more difficult opponent first. For this, he would have to incapacitate the easier opponent first to fully concentrate on the harder one.
The glasses wearing angel, using powers that Accelerator could understand, spoke.
She spoke in Japanese, as fluently as Aiwass had.
“You controlled the wings formed by congregated AIM diffusion fields?”
“Hmph, I’m surprised a monster like you has the capacity to think and ask questions.”
Accelerator unzipped his jacket, and took out the lamb-skin parchment, waving it at the AIM angel.
“You were attracted here by this thing right?”
The science angel frowned in puzzlement. At that moment, the air around them became full with killing intent. This supernatural killing intent was emitting from the angel of ice, whose wings had been shattered by Accelerator’s Reflection. The snow around her for 500 meters vanished, melted to reform those majestic wings of ice. With an ear-splitting sound, the mass of water shot up towards the body of the angel. In an instant, those wings became weapons of destruction.
“Oi, you annoying creature, wanna introduce yourself?”
Accelerator zipped up his jacket, and turned to face the archangel, as if he was on the side of the AIM angel.
“You stand behind.” Accelerator commanded in a bored tone. “I have no interest in a creation of Academy City. To save that brat I have to deal with that thing over there.”
From the earlier clash Accelerator had analyzed his opponents. Although both angels were monsters, they were not on the same level as Aiwass. Reflection and vector control worked perfectly upon the angel of science. As for the angel who had unknown origins, from the way it was being knocked around by the AIM angel, it was also a far cry from Aiwass in terms of power. For, Accelerator could not even begin to think of a way to defeat Aiwass.
(Hmph, I’ve won.)
Though this was a slightly ridiculous way of judging the situation, Accelerator was confident in his victory. However at that instant.
The archangel began a chant. Something was leaking out. Not only was the chant in a soft thin voice, hard to hear, but it was impossible to discern what language the archangel was chanting in.
Accelerator’s ears started to hurt. He felt like he was stuck in a spinning kaleidoscope.
(I know. I know this language), Accelerator thought. As he raised his head to look at the archangel, all her wings were spread out across the unnatural night sky. Like a radio tower, it seemed as though she was broadcasting signals of some kind into the sky.
And then, Misha’s voice was loud and clear.
“Command, Sweep-Cast initialized.”
The night sky was filled with flashing lights.
There was no time to be amazed at the spectacle, however.
Within a radius of 2 kilometers, tens of millions of fiery meteors of destruction rained down.
This was a perfect "Heaven's Judgment", one that Accelerator's vector control could not hope to emulate.
Accelerator was unable to respond. To dodge or to try and take the attack head on? Before Accelerator could fully consider his options, the maelstrom of destruction was already upon him. Accelerator could no longer tell the sky from the ground. In the moment that he was hit by the attack, his body was flung ferociously around like a rag doll. Although Accelerator was able to lessen the damage with his vector control, he still tasted blood.
Snow, dirt and sand were all tossed up by the attack, filling Accelerator's vision with a blur of white.
"This..... this is....?!"
As Accelerator was hurled towards the ground, he gasped for breath, but no sound came out. His throat was blocked. Using vector control, Accelerator cleared the congealed blood from his throat, and was finally able to breathe.
(Fuck.....!! What the fuck was that?!)
The massive amounts of snow and dirt tossed up by the attack filled the entire sky.
In this panorama of white, there was only one other color.
A glow of blue, radiating from the archangel of destruction.
Once again, the sky started flashing, and Accelerator was filled with foreboding. For the onslaught he had been through was just the initial "shot" of the attack.
The archangel relentlessly pounded Accelerator with the fiery rain for another ten "shots".
("You're fucking kidding me....")
His body hurting all over, Accelerator struggled to stand up. He could not die here.
He still had something to do. He would fight until he died or the monster was crushed.
("It doesn't matter if I have to destroy it. Just a reason to defeat it will be enough for me!")
BOOM!! Once more, the sound of explosions filled the air. Controlling the vectors at his feet, Accelerator sped towards the monster who was surrounded by a blue aura.
Once again, the archangel's emotionless voice rang out.
"SECONDkoWAVE. ATTACKwagerPREPARATIONwsINITIALIZING. 30 SECONDS UNTIL SECOND WAVE OF SWEEP."
At the same time.
BOOM!! Giant explosions rent the air above Russia. It was the first shot of Sweep.
"......she went overboard."
Fiamma muttered to himself, 7000 meters above the land in the flying fortress Star of Bethlehem. He could feel the explosions from here.
He was slightly annoyed that Misha had dragged the Star of Bethlehem into the line of fire. The spell formation of Sweep was formed higher up than the Star of Bethlehem. Thus, even if the Power of God cast a restricted Sweep, it would destroy part of the flying fortress. Judging by the color of the sky, the second wave of Sweep would start in 30 seconds. The damage done to the Star of Bethlehem would be even greater. However, Fiamma wasn't too concerned.
However Fiamma of the Right's expression did not change. It was almost as if he wanted to pull a face but couldn't do it. Besides, the Star of Bethlehem had a certain level of self-regeneration. The debris of the segments hit by the Sweep would float around in space for a while before returning to the fortress.
Fiamma of the Right used the Power of God to augment his 5 senses.
"So it's like this, huh..."
He spoke in a bored voice.
"So this is my enemy. Would the outcome of the battle change because of the appearance of the archangel? Don't say you won't imitate me."
Although his interest was piqued by the appearance of the angel created by Academy City, its appearance did not change anything. As for the person fighting alongside the science angel, it seemed he was one of the top ability users of the science side. Even if he joined in the fight, they would not be able to defeat Misha Kreutzev.
The power of Sweep was enormous. At this rate, even the monsters of science were going to start crying for mercy soon. It was certain that with the casting of the second and third waves of Sweep, the monsters would be annihilated. For they could not dodge, nor defend against Sweep.
There was no need to end the conflict with one single strike. Just wearing them down slowly and then annihilating them was enough. That was the brutality in which the Roman Catholic Church was well versed.
Just as waves wore down even the toughest of rocks, Misha would relentlessly grind the enemy into the ground.
"If the enemy is only at this level,"
Fiamma stroked his staff with his fingers.
"Then no one will be able to stop me..."
In his hand, the remote used to control Index had now become an artifact for him to control the great archangel.
"Oh, my Sweep is going to destroy this world huh?"
Fiamma heard the "voice" in his mind. He recognized the "voice".
"...long time no see. Acqua of the Back, do you still desire a position within God's Right Seat? Or have you reverted to your mercenary ways?"
"Anything is fine, as long as it's to stop you."
"Hmph, and how will you do that?"
Twirling his staff, Fiamma spoke with an air of contempt.
"In this situation that I have created, placing the 6 billion people of the world at the mercy of the ravages of war, how will you be able to save them?"
"You are a symbol of war. Using violence to bring peace. Fighting unknown dangers in conflicts around the world. Spreading the use of force throughout the world. A person like you is the best type of chess piece. Come on, everyone eagerly waits to hear how you shall use violence to solve the problem."
Chess pieces that had served their purpose were no longer needed.
"Why has this conflict started? It's not like you don't know that I started it. However, I did not fire a shot. It's because that I have judged and made a decision, that I ask you how you are going to save everyone."
"So, this is the reason for the archangel swinging an iron fist down on the populace?"
"You want to stop me? In the end, you still resort to force. Your side has no more tricks up their sleeve, how will you stop me? The outcome is already decided on the Academy City's side who is reinforced by the angel. You, who entered that place on the 30th of September to rescue Vento should know that."
"The existence of the science angel warps the fabric of this world, and has huge negative influences on magic. Vento being dragged into conflict with it is proof. That thing will not fight by your side. If you try to use force, both sides will just engage in combat till the death."
"Besides, Misha Kreutzev surpasses you all. Even if she is not perfect, she is still the real thing, a Christian archangel. In a full on war, the only victor is me."
This was the reasoning Fiamma had come to.
"You are strong, but you are just a pawn in this game. Now, no matter how much force you try to use, you cannot stop Misha. I give you leave to try, but it is better for you to just stay on the sidelines and watch."
Acqua laughed, and Fiamma lost his smirk.
"Then I shall show you a way to stop her without force."
In an instant, Misha Kreutzev's power was cut by a third.
The form of an angel was basically a mass of energy, they had no physical body. More accurately, their bodies were not composed of physical matter. Fiamma, who was linked to Misha, was suddenly dealt a blow through his 5 senses.
"You!..What did you do....No! This is...?!"
"Have you forgotten? I am Acqua of the Back. A member of the most secretive Roman Catholic organization, God's Right Seat. I hold the position of the back, and am associated with the colour 'Blue' and the moon. I also wield the power of one of the four Archangels, Power of God."
"You!....Did you, in your own body....?!!"
"For Christians, releasing and sealing "Telesma" is a basic among basics. Also, my body is the strongest "link" to the Power of God, being "Acqua of the Back" of God's Right Seat. Therefore, if I forcefully took out the water affinity Telesma within myself, I would not want to think of what would happen to the Power of God from whom such power stems."
It was impossible to imagine that such a plan could have been thought up by a sane man. To forcefully contain the power of an archangel within a mortal body was pure foolishness, even for magicians; for the human body would certainly explode from trying to contain such power.
"It is not 'impossible'."
Acqua's voice shattered the silence.
"Right now, the Russian nun you are using, she is doing a similar thing to what I am proposing."
"You are insane! Sasha is only able to perform such acts because of the Telesma remaining in her body from the events of Angel Fall! Besides, to forcefully suppress Misha Kreutzev requires you to take in far more Telesma!! You don't have that sort of ability."
"Hmph, don't talk like that.... What others can do, I can do too."
So it has come to this, Fiamma thought. He should have known. As a member of God's Right Seat, it was stupid for Fiamma to have tried to apply normal reasoning to Acqua.
"Then.... show me!"
Fiamma shouted out the challenge.
"That I shall."
"You know right? This stupid plan of yours will destroy your combat ability. You are just destroying yourself by trying this."
In the frozen tundra of Russia, there stood a man. He was far away from the border between Russia and Elizalina, and a distance away from the flying fortress. It was a perfect location to perform his spell.
The man thrust his sword which was larger than his body into the ground to support the weight of his own massive frame. Around him, the air warped, and condensed into the same consistency as treacle. This air flowed in a spiral towards the man.
A tremendous amount of energy flowed towards him. Under the dark blue sky and the shining full moon, Acqua absorbed the Power of God.
Power flowed into him from every pore on his body. This amount of energy could not be tolerated by a human's body. Just like how a fan could only suck in a predetermined amount of air. If you forcefully tried to take in more than your limit, the consequences would be dire.
Blood started pouring out from his legs and chest. It felt as though the muscles on his back and neck were on fire. Blood vessels throughout his body were bursting, and his nervous system was going into overload. The man could feel the tendons and ligaments throughout his body snapping one by one. His legs were shaking, as his once powerful body was on the brink of collapse.
However, he did not fall. The sword stuck in the ground, and the willpower in his chest. By relying on those two things, the man was determined to stay standing.
The destruction was not limited to just his physical body. His magical power was slowly burned out of him. The man was a Saint, and a member of God's Right Seat. Those two traits of his gave him tremendous power, surpassing that of other magicians. However, now the source of his body was being torn apart and he was losing his magical prowess. His body screamed at him to stop this madness, but a man will not stop until he achieves his goal.
Only by absorbing the Telesma of Misha Kreutzev in his body, could he weaken the enemy. To lessen the chance of the Telesma meant to save people being used to take human lives. That was all he wanted. As long as he could ensure that, the man would be able to clench his teeth and battle with the overwhelming tide of Telesma.
Accelerator's attack hit Misha Kreutzev dead on.
Because of this interruption, the spell formation of Sweep collapsed.
Accelerator and the angel of science charged towards Misha Kreutzev.
To destroy it.
To prevent the battlefield from turning into a wasteland.
Fiamma of the right smiled. The amount of Telesma Acqua of the Back had absorbed was only about 50% of that of the Power of God. As he had foreseen, it was not enough to stop Misha Kreutzev.
"Even 50% is enough to attain victory."
Fiamma sighed in a bored voice.
"Saint, God's Right Seat, both are gone. This is over now. You gave your life in vain."
"KILL!" He commanded.
It was over. Misha Kreutzev would destroy the angel of science and the ability user from Academy City, and proceed to exterminate the remaining forces of Academy city. No one would be able to stop Fiamma's plans, as long as Misha was there, the Star of Bethlehem would not fall, even if 50,000 nuclear warheads were launched simultaneously at it.
That was what should have happened.
But, nothing happened. Misha Kreutzev, who had received the order to "Kill", was not moving.
Fiamma felt rage overwhelming him. His plan was supposed to be perfect, yet at this time, someone had thrown a wrench into his schemes.
Fiamma of the Right noticed. There was one more person, currently not on the battlefield, an existence who wielded the supreme power.
At the same time.
Kamijou Touma was at the very furthest corner on the right of the Star of Bethlehem, at the ceremonial altar where Sasha had been used as a medium to summon Misha Kreutzev.
Apparently Fiamma had fixed Index's remote to the end of his staff, allowing him to control Misha. Therefore, to stop Misha's rampage of destruction, he had to destroy the staff, and in order to destroy the staff, he would have to confront Fiamma in a battle.
However, there was more. Touma searched for a quicker and more certain way to stop Misha.
"....Misha Kreutzev appeared after the Star of Bethlehem."
Touma said aloud. It wasn't certain if he was explaining his thoughts to Sasha, or just speaking out loud to himself.
"If he was able to summon the power of an archangel, why didn't he summon it earlier? Even if he did not start the third world war and turn his potential enemies on each other, with the power of an archangel behind him, he would probably still have been able to defeat us all at once. Then, why didn't Fiamma summon Misha until after the Star of Bethlehem appeared?"
This could only mean one thing. Touma finally came to this conclusion.
"The Star of Bethlehem is needed to summon the Archangel Misha Kreutzev and anchor her to this plane! That is why Fiamma only summoned it after the fortress flew into the sky; not because he didn't feel like it, but because he COULDN'T summon it beforehand even if he wanted to!"
"If that was true, things become much simpler. On the Star of Bethlehem, there must be an object that anchors Misha's existence to this plane. I'll just have to use my right hand to destroy this 'object'--!!"
Touma grabbed one of the thin poles surrounding the ceremonial grounds. About 3 centimeters in diameter, there were several tens of these poles, some of which contained a black liquid, others containing a white liquid. Just as Sasha said, the white and black poles were paired together around the entrance of the ceremonial grounds, almost as if they were drawing in mysterious 'energy' into the grounds from outside.
Since there was so many of them, Touma guessed that those poles must be involved in a complex process maintaining the existence of Misha.
Then, all he had to do was break the poles.
The transparent containers were smashed. White and black liquid splashed onto the ground, forming marble-like shapes. It felt as if something started to tremble. Although Touma could not see it, he could feel that an existence was trembling to its core.
At that time.
Acqua of the Back had taken away half of Misha's power.
Kamijou Touma had broken the pillars anchoring her existence to this plane.
And now, Misha Kreutzev was on the receiving end of the ferocious attacks of Academy City's strongest esper and the angel of science....
The archangel's cry echoed throughout the Russian night.
It was a sound the brain of a human could not comprehend, but one could tell it was different from a simple scream. The cry contained unfathomable emotions. Misha's body, already straining to maintain a humanoid shape, simply collapsed, returning to a state of pure energy. An immense amount of energy. A bomb.
Accelerator, who was the closest to Misha at the time, ignored the rapidly diminishing power of his electrode, and flew towards the archangel at full power.
"...who gives a shit what just happened, this isn't the problem at the moment!"
The power to rush ahead towards the glowing mass of energy. The strength that Accelerator had lacked from the moment he escaped from Academy City and arrived in Russia. The strength that boy had planted in him after their confrontation, finally blazed up within Accelerator's chest, and exploded.
"AAH!~ Fuck, I admit it! I want to protect her! I don't want to lose her!! I don't even want to think about the possibility of losing her!! I will face anything in order to protect this dream of mine!!!!"
Accelerator would not be able to suppress that enormous energy just with Reflection. Facing the angel of science, whom he has not yet determined to be friend or foe, Accelerator yelled with all his might.
"STOP THAT THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Did he make it in time?
Was there still time to act?
The mass of energy exploded. A pure white sphere of light exploded outwards, consuming everything in its path. Even if one closed their eyes, they would still have been blinded by that tremendous light. The pitch black night became a ceiling of pure brilliant white. Everything within a radius of several tens of kilometers should have become ash. This was not a simple explosion, but one of a Special Energy. It would not have been weird for some crazy side effects to be produced.
There was a very high chance that the explosion could have turned the surroundings into an uninhabitable wasteland. However, as the explosion expanded outwards, it started to warp unnaturally. The angel of science threw the gargantuan energy inside it at Accelerator, who manipulated the vectors inside that energy into a transparent shield and threw it around the ball of energy. Like a shell, it encased the explosion which had already expanded to 300 meters. Inside the shell, the energy from the explosion built up as the expanding light was trapped, unable to unleash its wrath on the land.
It seemed impossible, but the light and sound intensified even more. But Accelerator did not give up, and mustered all his strength, strengthening the barrier around the giant orb of light. For several seconds, the mass of energy was contained inside the shell.
Acqua of the Back, after confirming the dispersion of the mass of Telesma, slowly let go of his giant sword. His entire body was soaked in blood. His strength had vanished from his body.
Finally, he collapsed to the ground, his great sword still impaled in the ground. Acqua had a slight smile on his face. He had achieved his goal.
He had dispersed some of the archangel's Telesma, and given Fiamma's foes a fighting chance. Even though Fiamma wielded immense power, he was too overconfident, and would underestimate the power of the factions that had allied to fight against him. Just like Acqua himself used to be, he mused.
Acqua's internal systems were a mess, and the last traces of magic had been burned out of him. He estimated that he himself would not live for much longer. Well, at least he would be dragging the archangel along with him. He had done enough.
His goal had not been to live to see Fiamma fall. He had already prepared something special, that would allow everyone to get one step closer towards Fiamma, high in the sky. So as long as everyone could be happy in the future, Acqua had achieved his goal. Even if he could not be a part of that future, a mercenary like him would not be needed anyway.
Acqua heard someone shout, and saw a young Asian man approach him through the snow. If Acqua's memory served him right, he was the boy who had defended that village.
"What happened here? These wounds, they don't look like gunshot wounds... What happened, dammit?!! Hey guys, I don't know any emergency medical procedures, can you guys do something?"
A man and a girl rushed towards either side of Acqua, carrying what seemed to be bandages. Acqua's expression did not change, for he knew what condition his body was in.
"There's no need for that...."
Tasting blood in his mouth, Acqua continued.
"You can't save me. This is a battlefield, and medical supplies are very limited. Save them for someone who will benefit from them. Don't waste them on me."
"Though I cannot tell you the details, just then I confronted the one who instigated all this conflict. At the very least I managed to deliver a surprise attack on him, but he could well retaliate. It's too dangerous to stay here. You people should leave now."
"I told you to stop fussing! I can't just leave you here to die!"
"I have already achieved my goal. From now on I will just be dead weight."
"...but what about the person who is waiting for you at home?"
Shiage's pained voice stopped Acqua in his tracks.
"You've managed to survive in these situations for such a long time. That time you saved me and my friends, it didn't seem like anything special to you, as that was the path you walked. So a guy like you will never be alone."
"Even if you don't think about it, there are several people relying on you. What will happen to them?"
This was a power that did not exist in Acqua's heart.
Every word, every sentence, was like a needle stabbing into Acqua's body. Acqua's body, sliding down the path towards death, was pinned down by these words. Shiage's words dragged Acqua back from the verge of death.
"To die for the sake of the world, to die to protect others, who would accept such stupid excuses?!! They are unacceptable! The reason you fight is not to let those waiting for you to not be able to do anything other than cry!!"
His thoughts were cloudy because of the lack of blood, but inside Acqua's mind, several images floated forward. Knight Leader, the elders from the astrology department, and the people he had saved in his past.
The third princess of England.
"Stand up, hero!"
Ignoring the fact that Acqua was in a state of near death, Shiage grabbed him and pulled him up.
He roared with all his might. That sound was directed at Acqua, who was still lying in the snow. Acqua could hear his heart beat. He was still alive. It was not over. He could still move.
With a cough that racked his body, and sent more blood spewing out of his mouth, Acqua stood up once more.
His powers as a Saint had gone.
His power as a member of God's Right Seat had also been lost.
His body had been ravaged. He was now a normal human. Clenching his teeth, Acqua pulled out the last vestiges of magical energy hidden within him. It was only enough to keep him standing and prevent more blood from coming out of his wounds.
He had not much strength left, not nearly enough to wield his giant sword. However that was not important. A real hero was definitely not one who gave up. He was one, who upon hearing the support of the people, would get back up, no matter how many times he had fallen to his knees.
Fiamma of the Right reached for the staff.
The staff had Index’s remote control spiritual item on the top in order to control the archangel.
It seemed Gabriel had headed for the surface having detected the parchments, but had failed to retrieve them. Those parchments contained information necessary for Fiamma’s Project Bethlehem.
But it was not a problem.
Fiamma and Gabriel’s senses were linked and Gabriel’s abilities of perception were quite different from those of a human. Even if the parchments had been in the target’s pocket, the archangel could obtain the magical information recorded on them.
He had the necessary knowledge.
Fiamma had extremely deep knowledge of Michael and he had filled in the gaps with knowledge obtained from the 103,000 grimoires.
There was something Fiamma had lacked.
He had lacked the symbols of the archangels other than Michael. In other words, the symbols of the other members of God’s Right Seat.
(As long as I have the unconfirmed information gathered from all across Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church’s top secret inferences into the spells of each angel, it won’t be a problem.)
He no longer needed the staff.
Fiamma removed Index’s remote control spiritual item from the top.
“I see, I see, I see.”
He spun the staff around.
“Fuck you, you piece of shit,” Fiamma said with a grin on his face.
He snapped the staff in half.
He tossed the wreckage to the side and then brought his right hand forward. He knew the general location. Holding his palm in that direction, he muttered something under his breath.
A huge beam of light shot out.
It smashed and melted straight through the wall of the Star of Bethlehem, blew through many different buildings, and headed in a straight line for his target.
There was no resistance.
It would have been a problem if there had been.
That right hand must have deflected it.
An odd noise could be heard from around Fiamma’s right shoulder. The partially-disintegrated third arm was beginning to detach. However, that was no major impediment to Fiamma now that his knowledge was reinforced with the 103,000 grimoires.
He took one step forward.
With just that, Fiamma’s body moved 5 kilometers forward. It didn’t matter that the floor was missing between the two locations and it was just open air. As long as he had an open horizontal path, he could move anywhere.
He arrived in a room.
It was the ceremony room in which Sasha Kreutzev’s body had been used in order to call in the archangel. In the previous blast, over half the room had been destroyed and most of the interior had fallen down to the lower level as if it had been forcibly dragged down. That boy stood alone in the ceremony room. Fiamma caught a glimpse of something red through the hole to the lower level. It was possible that someone had been gotten caught up in the destruction and had fallen down.
“You are quite a troublesome boy,” Fiamma said.
He played with Index’s remote control spiritual item in one hand.
“Thanks to you, I have to carry out the ceremony before Academy City or England can interfere. As such, it’s about time I took your right hand.”
“…Do you really think it’ll go that easily? Misha is gone. I’m not really sure why things have gone so well, but we humans won against an archangel. The scales have clearly tipped in our favor.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” said Fiamma as he pointed up toward the heavens.
The physical walls and ceiling had been blown to pieces by his earlier attack. This allowed the unnatural night sky to be visible past the crumbled building materials.
That was when that spiky haired boy realized something.
Archangel Misha Kreutzev had been defeated, but the state of the sky had not changed.
“The angel’s role ended once the sky had been turned to this night sky I wanted,” Fiamma said as he greatly stretched out his third arm. “I mentioned that the symbols of Uriel and Raphael were out of alignment earlier. And I also mentioned that the name Misha Kreutzev was not suitable for Gabriel as it is derived from Michael.”
The spiky haired boy seemed to be on guard, but it was too late.
By the time Fiamma was finished speaking, it was already too late.
“Using Gabriel to remove all the stars from the sky and leaving the Star of Bethlehem as the only thing floating in the incomplete heavens that are filled with Telesma was establishing the large flow of power needed for the ceremony to reset the four elements. …You stopped the magic circle covering the surface of the sky that Misha caused during Angel Fall and the Croce di Pietro that used the arrangement of the stars as seen from the earth’s surface, so I’m sure I do not need to explain just how much important magical meaning there is in controlling the screen known as the heavens. The prophets believed that a certain star would appear in the night sky to mark the birth of the Son of God. I suppose you could say I am carrying out a large-scale spell that uses that legendary truth. Well, I’ve also affected the flow of power on the surface by moderately destroying churches and cathedrals all across the world.”
The heavens and the earth.
Three and four.
He had completely monopolized those important numbers in Christian culture.
“What…? Why did you do all this…?”
“You didn’t really think this would all be over after I merely got the Star of Bethlehem into the sky, did you?” said Fiamma mockingly. “This is just the means. My goal is much higher. The Star of Bethlehem, World War III, and the remote control spiritual item for the 103,000 grimoires were all just preparations. But that’s not all. The most important part is this right arm. It all resides here.” Fiamma spoke cheerfully. “All I’m saying is that I could not carry out the ceremony I wish to without setting the stage like this. And the completion of the first stage comes with a nice benefit.”
An odd sound rang out.
A starry sky spread out.
First yellow, then red, followed by blue, and lastly green. On Fiamma’s signal, the oddly colored stars spread out across the dark night sky like veils being drawn.
The Star of Bethlehem was a huge planetarium.
“Did you know?”
The stars were colors that would be absolutely impossible in nature. A complete amateur who knew almost nothing of magic should not have been able to analyze what they meant, but he understood in a very deep part of his existence. He understood that he was seeing the transparent true world. He understood that he was feeling the four elements having been returned to their proper places.
“Fire, water, wind, earth. Each of those four elements carries the leading edge of its type of power, but at the same time, using one element has a broader effect on the three other elements. That is why all large-scale ceremonies except practical battle ones use one of each symbolic weapon as opposed to just the symbolic weapon of the primary element. That is true even in fire ceremonies. In other words, my fire has always held the requirements needed to control all four elements. By controlling all four, I should gain a vast amount of power. …But that is all if the distortion in the lineup of the world’s elements did not exist.”
Fiamma continued speaking.
“Proper power cannot be perfectly used except for in a proper world.”
Something invisible exploded out from Fiamma.
It was killer intent.
The pressure was so overwhelming that Kamijou felt a sensation on his skin like it was being torn.
But that was no reason to step back.
The man before his eyes was holding Index’s remote control spiritual item. To destroy it, he had to crush the source of that pressure.
Kamijou naturally clenched his right fist.
His focus was naturally drawn toward Fiamma’s right shoulder.
The third arm wriggled.
Something vast resided within that power that was supposed to be suffering as it disintegrated.
“Now I will show you what proper power is.”